Ferret Hair Loss

Unlike humans, ferrets don’t usually go bald when they get older (or grow more nose and ear hair for that matter). They can get mange and many other conditions that cause hair loss, such as allergies or fleas infestations, but by and far the most common cause of baldness (alopecia) in ferrets is adrenal gland disease.

Most ferrets in the pet trade are spayed or neutered at around six weeks of age, so that they don’t develop there lovely smell that all members of the Mustelid family are famous for (such as skunks). Because of this, when the time is right, their brains send strong hormonal signals to the (now absent) gonads to tell them breeding season is nigh. When the brain gets no response, it keeps sending out more and more hormones, often stimulating the adrenal glands, the little glands located just in front of the kidneys, to make sexual hormones, like estrogen and testosterone. And it’s these hormones that cause the hair loss.

However, that’s not the only thing that they do. In males, they can make the prostate to enlarge and cause problems when urinating. In females, the vulva can swell. And left unchecked, the adrenal gland may keep getting larger and more productive, often turning into a cancerous tumor. This condition is usually treated with surgery to remove the affected gland(s), and/or hormone injections.

Whenever your pet is showing signs of a health issue your first step is to contact your primary care veterinarian. If you are worried that your pet may be at risk of hair loss or another serious condition, a veterinary specialist is available at an ExpertVet certified hospital.